By Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, MASCL, MBA
In my over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology industry, I’ve worked on two continents and for various industries. Many of those companies provided me opportunities and exposures that helped me throughout my career. This, coupled with my desire for continued learning, experience and my journey in pursuing the Master of Arts in Strategic Communication and Leadership (MASCL) from Seton Hall University has helped me developed to be the leader that I desired.
In the past I would differentiate myself through my regular work. It’s all about delivery and getting things done. For the most part that was good enough. However in 2007 many of our programmers were leaving the firm to seek better opportunity elsewhere because they were offered opportunities to use new technology. That was the tipping point; as a manager I did not want to lose out to our competitors. I came up with the idea of forming a developer community forum (DCF) to enable developers to collaborate, share their knowledge and connect with one another. I approach one of the senior executives to sponsor my idea. After a few weeks I was given the green light to set up the forum. It is the turning point for me as a change agent. I had the fire and desire to make it happen.
The forum was first formed with 40 members, but after a couple of months, only a group of 12 people were actively participating. Amazingly, the 12 people came up with four training classes within four months. I came to the realization that sometimes management nominates people whom they think are the best in their group, but those people are not necessarily the people who can be change agents. In the core group of twelve, only ½ of them were members who were nominated to the forum; the rest joined after the forum was created. Those members who were not nominated are the most active members who made a difference in the firm.
What is my point? Not everyone is a change agent. It does not mean that if you’re the best in your team, you’re a change agent. Change agents are people who care to go above and beyond. They care for the greater good of the organization, beyond the confines of their team and projects. It is beyond getting their job done. Amazingly change agents are usually excellent performer on their teams. They are willing to stretch the envelope and get more things done to help others and ultimately help their organization.
The forum has been in existence for over 2 ½ years. We have saved the firm in training by offering training developed and taught by our members. The savings for two years is about $600,000. We also hosted two developer conferences and joined other endeavors to promote and showcase the talent of our developers.
We recently had a meeting to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. The meeting went well and a couple of members stepped up to be the new leaders. I’m glad to step aside and work in the background to let others showcase their talents. I learned a lot from this experience and came to realize that change agents can be anyone. The key to being a change agent is CARING. The key ingredients to enabling change are caring and passion to making a difference.
In the end, I had Bobby to thank for the success that I had. Without his support, we would not have been able to achieve our goal. Change agents need a champion. The champion is the one that facilitates the change and the change agents are the ones to make it happen.